Worcester 10K 2016

Sunday saw the third running the Worcester 10K. Worcester is my hometown but this year was the first year the timing worked for me to do this race. The course takes a relatively flat route through the city centre and along the River Severn, as well as cutting across the river in to St Johns for a lap of Cripplegate Park.

I was going in to the race off the back of my biggest ever week of running. I had rejigged my training plan to allow for the race, moving my 21 mile long run to Thursday, which meant I ran nearly 100 miles (98.9 to be precise) in the 7 days up to the race. I therefore wasn’t sure quite how the legs would hold up in an all-out 10K, but I knew I felt in good shape so was hopeful a PB might be possible if everything aligned.

Sunday morning was lovely weather for running – cool and slightly overcast, with almost no wind – a far cry from the hot, humid weather I’ve been running in lately. I jogged a two mile warm-up from my parents’ house to the start line, throwing in a few strides to wake the legs up, and everything felt good. Would I really be able to run well after all those miles?

Worcester 10K

I lined up on the start line a few rows back from the front, and after a slightly embarrassing attempt at a mass warm-up, which almost no-one took part in, we were ready to go. The horn went and we were off, heading towards the main river bridge to cross over to St Johns. There is quite a steep incline up to the bridge but the adrenaline of the start meant I barely noticed the rise and before I knew it I was on the loop around Cripplegate Park.

According to the KM markers I passed 1km in 3:59, but Strava suggests it was actually 3:40 which sounds closer to the truth. I was feeling great at this point, and although it was early days I knew that I needed 3:48/km for a 38 minute time, so I might be on for a good time. We crossed back over the river bridge and up in to town, and I was pleased the few small hills felt comfortable – something I was worried about given all the mileage in my legs.

Kilometers 2 and 3 yielded 3:47 and 3:48 as we passed through the centre of Worcester, and I was still feeling great. My concentration dropped a little in the 4th kilometre and I slipped to 3:54, but I quickly corrected myself with a 3:48 as we returned to the river and passed halfway. By this stage I had slightly lost confidence in the kilometre markers which seemed to be giving me quite wide-ranging splits, so I decided to not pay too much attention to them and just push on as best I could.

The next few kilometres involved a few slightly twisty sections up through the old canal area of Diglis, but I kept a steady pace of 3:53 and 3:55. Kilometre 8 took me over the new pedestrian bridge in 3:50, and I knew I just had a mile along a lovely flat riverside path before the final stretch over the main river bridge and down to the finish line. The legs were still feeling good, and everything felt in control, so I knew a PB was there for the taking.

Worcester 10K

I firmly knuckled down for this final stretch, passing a few people before eventually latching on to a couple of club runners who were ticking along at a decent pace. I passed the final kilometre marker in 3:48 and gradually pushed up the effort levels as we neared the road bridge. The sharp rise up to the bridge was a little tougher on the legs this time, but I pushed on and was soon on the slope down towards the finish line.

It was now the final few hundred metres and as we went around the final corner on to the finishing straight I pushed as hard as I could for the finish line, hitting 4:56/mi pace at the very end! I stopped my watch and glanced at the time – 38:13, a PB by nearly 40 seconds – I was delighted. Unfortunately I later discovered my chip had failed to register on the start line, so I only got a gun time of 38:17, for 52nd place out of over 2200. Never mind, these things happen and I’m still delighted with a 35 second PB.

I had a funny run-in with former 1500m and mile world-record holder Steve Cram on my warm-down. As I ran along the road Steve was marshalling the duathlon which takes place at the same time (he owns the company that runs the race, and fair play to him, he was mucking in with the marshalling), and thought I was a runner who had gone the wrong way. After he tried to wave me down I reassured him I had already finished, and he gave me a thumbs up. Sadly I didn’t have my phone on me, or I might have been tempted to try and grab a selfie with him.

Overall then, a great way to end a 90 mile week, and a big confidence booster that things are heading in the right direction for Frankfurt next month. I have the Bristol HM next Sunday which will be another good test. Hopefully the legs will hold up and I can put in another good performance there…

13:395:52 min/mi15420 ft
23:476:05 min/mi1844 ft
33:496:07 min/mi19020 ft
43:546:16 min/mi190-23 ft
53:476:06 min/mi187-22 ft
63:536:14 min/mi1892 ft
73:556:18 min/mi1882 ft
83:506:10 min/mi191-0 ft
93:486:06 min/mi192-10 ft
103:395:51 min/mi1947 ft
11:124:51 min/mi199-3 ft
Total38:176.2 mi6:09 min/mi186
13:590.68 mi5:53 min/mi156
23:410.60 mi6:05 min/mi186
33:380.60 mi6:06 min/mi190
44:020.65 mi6:13 min/mi190
53:470.61 mi6:09 min/mi187
63:410.60 mi6:11 min/mi189
73:550.62 mi6:18 min/mi188
84:020.66 mi6:07 min/mi191
94:450.78 mi6:07 min/mi192
102:380.47 mi5:36 min/mi195


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